Anil Ambani group company Reliance Communications, which is under investigation for its alleged association with Swan Telecom, on Sunday said it held only 9.9 per cent of the equity share capital in Swan at the time of applying for the 2G telecom licences and had not violated any norms.
In a statement, Reliance Communications Wireless Business CEO Syed Safawi said his company was in full compliance with all the applicable DoT (Department of Telecommunications) guidelines, rules and regulations and had only 9.9 per cent stake in Swan when it filed licence applications in March 2007. This shareholding was fully disclosed at the inception and was always in the public domain.
“Neither Reliance Telecom, RCom, nor any Reliance ADA Group individual, company or affiliate is a beneficiary of, or has any connection with, any of the licences issued, or spectrum granted to old and new 2G operators in January, 2008,” Mr. Safawi said.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had interrogated officials of the ADAG (Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group) companies in relation to the 2G spectrum allotment in 2008 by the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja. It arrested Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa for his alleged role in the scam.
Reliance Communications, in the statement, accused its competitors and rivals in the telecom industry of “putting up a smokescreen and cover their own unprecedented irregularities over the past decade, and thereby protecting their market shares built through manipulation of the policy regime, and favouritism in connivance with certain DoT officials of the relevant time.”
On issuing of dual technology licences to Reliance Communications, the statement said its application that was pending from February 2006 for more than 18 months was on identical terms and involved the payment of identical fees as the Tata Teleservices, Himachal Futuristic Communications and Shyam Telecom (now known as Sistema).
“The grant of dual technology approval to RCom, Tata Teleservices and two other companies was after due process of public consultation by the TRAI [Telecom Regulatory Authority of India], recommendations by the TRAI to the DoT, and acceptance of the same by the DoT/Government of India. The grant of dual technology approval to RCom in October 2007 has been upheld by the Honourable Delhi High Court by a judgment in August 2008, and by the Telecom Tribunal, TDSAT, by an order in March 2009.”
The CBI has been examining several telecom firms and their officials in relation to various matters between 2001 and 2008 over the past several weeks on the Supreme Court's orders. “The investigations by the CBI and other authorities are by no means specific to RCom executives, and instead, have already reportedly covered more than 50 people from across a large number of telecom operators,” the statement said.
The statement said:
“Hari Nair of our group was Company Secretary of Swan Telecom for a few months while Reliance Telecom held a 9.9 per cent equity stake in that company, but that shareholding was sold and he ceased to hold that post, well before a licence was granted to Swan Telecom in January 2008.
“We are fully cooperating with the authorities in this regard and will continue to extend all assistance as required to enable them to complete their investigations, including attendance of directors and executives concerned and providing relevant information.”